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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Parkway Family Physicians

Tuesday, 26 February 2019 16:14

The Importance of Sleep For Good Health

The importance of sleep for good health

We spend nearly one-third of our lives in slumber, yet little is known about the forces that drive the need to sleep. However, new studies are beginning to reveal how sleep helps to regulate our health and well-being and prevent disease.

Chronic illnesses, including depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, diabetes — have all been shown to be influenced by the quantity and quality of the sleep we receive each night. Sleep deprivation has also been shown to accelerate Alzheimer's brain damage

Getting quality sleep improves the functioning of the body's immune system, which can help fight off an infection, offsetting the effects of chronic stress, which can make the body more susceptible to illness. In fact, sleep is so important to our health that researchers at Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine have called sleep the “third pillar of health”, along with a healthy diet and exercise.

The reasons that sleep are beneficial are not fully understood, but we know that while we sleep, the brain remains active and uses this physical resting time to process memories, and to purge toxins that can lead to neurological decline.

How much sleep is needed to maintain optimum health? While it varies by age, most adults should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. So how can you improve the amount and quality of sleep you get each night? Here are a few tips for a better night's sleep:

Have a Sleep Routine

Go to bed the same time every night and waking up the same time every morning, including weekends. This will help to help to regulate your body's internal biological clock.

Reduce Light

Keeping light to a minimum is important for signaling to your brain that it's time to rest. This includes limiting screen time from cell phones and computer screen an hour or two before bed

Limit Fluids

Limit fluids couple of hours before bed. This will reduce the number of late night trips to the bathroom. In particular, limit caffeine, alcohol and stimulants which act as diuretics, increasing the need to urinate.

Watch What You Eat Before Bed

Aim for finishing your dinner 2-4 hours before bed. Having a heavy meal can cause indigestion. If you do eat later, try to have a light snack with protein such as peanut butter, yogurt or cheese and crackers.

Schedule Exercise Earlier in the Day

Exercise can be a  great sleep aide. It improves circulation, strengthens muscles, and improves alertness. However, this alertness can also make it difficult to calm your mind and fall asleep. Aim to complete your workout as early in the day as possible, no sooner than 3-4 hours before bed.

Monday, 25 February 2019 18:18

Keeping Your Baby Safe While Sleeping

The safest position for infants to sleep is on their back. THis is according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Sleeping on the back has been shown to reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the AAP began recommending that all newborn babies age 1 or under be put to sleep on their backs at night and during the day for naps, the rate of of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrom) has declined more than 50 percent – with no increase in choking.

Sleeping Infant

While it can be a challenge to get your newborn in the habit of falling asleep on her back, in time your infant will adapt to this safe baby sleeping position. Of course, once your child is able to roll over, she may reposition herself.

It's also important to make sure your baby spends supervised time playing on his stomach every day. This is important to help with motor development and prevents flat head syndrome.

Here are some other tips to help your infant sleep safely and comfortably.
  • Choose a firm surface, preferably a safety-approved crib mattress. Use a fitted sheet and avoid placing the baby on soft surfaces like pillows or throws.
  • A one-piece sleeper or sleep-sack is a good alternative to blankets.
  • Keep the crib clear of soft toys, pillows blankets and other soft objects.
  • Babies should not sleep in a bed, couch or chair with other adults or children. A sofa or chair is the riskiest place for an infant to sleep. If sleeping in the same room, babies are safest in a bassinet, cradle or crib. Only bring your baby into your bed to feed or comfort them.
  • Ensure that the crib is not too cold or hot by monitoring the temperature and keeping infants away from vents, open windows and other sources of drafts.
  • Pacifiers have been show to reduce the risk of SIDS, but don't force the baby to use a pacifier if it doesn't want to.



Tuesday, 13 November 2018 22:26

What Causes Gallstones?

What Causes Gallstones?

Gallstones are not actually stones, but rather hardened deposits of digestive fluid that  form in the gallbladder. The gallblader sits just below the liver and sends digestive fluid called bile into your small intestine.

Gallstones can be as tiny as a grain of sand to the size of a golf ball. Multiple gallstones can form at the same time. Your genes, weight, and diet can all contribute to gallstones forming. Other medical conditions like diabetes, liver cirrosis or sickle cell anemia can cause gallstones.

Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors, since obesity can raise cholesterol, making it more difficult for the gallbladder to empty.
 
If your gallbladder doesn't empty completely or often enough, bile can become concentrated, leading to the formation of gallstones.

Gallstone Symptoms
  • The symptoms of gallstones include
  • Sudden upper belly pain and upper back that can last for several hours
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating, indegestion, heartburn and gas
If you experience symptoms such as intense abdominal pain, yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes or high fever with chills, you should seek seek medical attention.

To determine if you have gallstones your doctor will give you a physical exam and a blood test to check for infection or obstruction. An ultrasound or CT scan may also be performed to image the gallbladder and detect the presence of any gallstones.

If gallstones are found your doctor may prescribe medications to dissolve the stones. Surgery may also be needed to remove the stones. In some cases surgery may be necessary to remove the gallbladder.
Saturday, 22 December 2018 21:47

Preventing Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is relatively common, with 1 in 6 Americans contracting some form of food poisoning every year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Preventing Food Poisoning

Ingestion of food that contains a bacterium, virus, parasite, or prion can cause adverse symptoms in the body. Those symptoms may be limited to vomiting or diarrhea or they may involve other organs such as the kidney, brain, or muscle. While about 250 types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites can lead to food poisoning, the most common foodborne illnesses in the United States are caused by Norovirus, and the bacteria Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, and Salmonella.

What Are The Symptoms Of Food Poisoning?

The symptoms of food poisoning will be obvious in most cases, and include:
  •  Abdominal cramps
  •  Diarrhea
  •  Vomiting
  •  Mild fever
  •  Weakness
  •  Nausea
  •  Headaches
  •  Loss of appetite
Most cases of food poisoning last only a couple of days and the symptoms usually resolve on their own. If symptoms persist longer than two days, or the symptoms are more serious, you should contact a health care professional.

Symptoms of potentially life-threatening food poisoning include:
  •  Diarrhea that continues for more than three days
  •  A fever higher than 101.5°F
  •  Difficulty seeing or speaking
  •  Severe dehydration
  •  Bloody urine

How Can You Prevent Food Poisoning?

First, always wash your hands frequently when preparing food. Wash cutting boards and knives with hot soapy water after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs. Avoid wooden cutting boards, which can be more difficult to clean.

Pay attention to the expiration date on diary, meat and eggs and avoid them at room temperature. Instad, keep food refrigerated until it is ready to use. Thaw meat and seafood in the refrigerator or microwave.

While raw meat and poultry are some of the most common sources of food borne illnesses, produce can also become contaminated with salmonella, listeria and other dangerous bacteria in the field where they are produced and during processing. Be aware of recalls involving meat and produce and thoroughly wash produce. Washing meat and poultry is generally not recommended, as it can spread bacteria in the kitchen.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 15:01

Managing Asthma In Children

Asthma affects around 7 million children in the U.S., and is the leading cause of chronic illness, with most children having the first symptoms by age 5. For reasons that are not yet understood, cases of asthma have been increasing. Experts suggest it could be from kids spending more time indoors and being exposed to dust, pollution and secondhand smoke, or from a lack of exposure to enough bacteria and viruses to strengthen their immune system.

Because asthma symptoms can very from episode to episode, it's important to know all the potential symptoms, which can include any of the following problem signs:
  •     Shortness or loss of breath
  •     Chronic coughing spells
  •     Low energy during physical activity
  •     Intermittent rapid breathing
  •     Tightness or pain in the chest
  •     Wheezing sounds when breathing in or out
  •     Feeling weak or tired
These are just some of the symptoms of asthma and they could be symptoms of other conditions, be may be other causes. Allergies can also show many of the same symptoms as asthma. Your doctor should evaluate the child to find the underlying cause of any illness that restricts your child's airways. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam.

If your child is diagnosed with asthma, your doctor or a specialist can provide guidelines for controlling and managing the disease so they can avoid triggers and lead as normal a life as possible. In some cases medications may be prescribed to treat the asthma. Depending on the child's age, they may use inhaled asthma drugs or liquid medications delivered with an asthma nebulizer.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018 17:02

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss occurs gradually as we age, and advancing age is the most common cause of hearing loss. One out of three people age 65-74 has some level of hearing loss. After age 75, one out of every two people will experience hearing loss.

Signs of hearing loss may include:
  •     Muffling of speech and sounds
  •     Difficulty understanding words against background noise
  •     Asking others to talk slowly, clearly and loudly
  •     Turning up the volume to be able to hear the radio or TV
  •     Avoiding social situations
Besides aging, hearing loss can also be caused by:
  • Exposure to loud sounds that can damage the cells of your inner ear. This damage can occur with long-term exposure to loud noises, or from a short exposure, such as from a gunshot.
  • Genetic susceptibility to hearing loss.
  • Occupations where loud noise regularly occur in the working environment, such as construction or factory work.
  • Exposure to noise from firearms, jet engines, concerts, fireworks, etc.
  • Certain medications, such as the antibiotic gentamicin and certain chemotherapy drugs, can damage the inner ear.
  • Some diseases or illnesses such as meningitis, may cause high fever, resulting in damage the cochlea.
There are steps you can take to prevent noise-induced hearing loss and to avoid making age-related hearing loss worse, including:
  • Protect your ears from loud or continuous noise at work by wearing hearing protection
  • Have your hearing to detect early hearing loss. Knowing you've lost some hearing means you're in a position to take steps to prevent further hearing loss
  • Use caution during high risk activities, such as motorsports, hunting and loud concerts by wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks to avoid long periods of exposure
  • Turn down the volume when listening to music
If you are a family member is having difficulty hearing, Parkway Family Physicians can provide hearing and vision screening. Call 651-690-1311.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:15

Why You Should Get a Flu Shot This Year

During last year's flu season vaccines prevented an estimated 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations. Even if you had a flu shot last year, it's important that those 6 months and older get the shot every season. While influenza viruses function more or less the same, every year there are different types, or strains, of the flu.

It takes around two weeks after receiving a flu shot for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus, so it's best to get your shot before the flu season arrives by late October.

If you live or work with young children, the elderly, or people with certain medical conditions who are more likely to suffer complications from the flu, it's important to get a flu shot, even if you're not in a higher risk category. By doing so you can prevent the spread of the flu to higher risk individuals in the community.

How Does a Flu Shot Work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Are There Side Effects From Flu Shots?

The side effects from a flu shot are minor, and include soreness at the site of the injection, headache, body aches and in some cases fever.

Have questions about flu shots? Give Parkway Family Physicians a call at 651-690-1311.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018 17:07

Food Safety Tips

The CDC estimates that each year 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die. Pregnant women, young children, older adults
and people with immune systems weakened from medical conditions are at highest risk from foodborne illnesses.

Keeping your family safe from foodborne illness at home is all about practicing good food handling procedures. Here are some tips to keep your food safe.

  1. Wash hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  2. Use clean, disposable gloves if your hands have sores or cuts.
  3. After preparing food thoroughly wash all surfaces that have come in contact with raw food with hot, soapy water. Consider using paper towels to clean contaminated areas, or if you use dishcloths, replace them often and wash them in the hot cycle of your washing machine.
  4. Keep cutting boards clean by washing them in hot, soapy water after each use. Sanitize cutting boards with a solution or 1 tablespoon of bleach to each gallon of water. Most plastic, glass and some solid wood cutting boards can be washed in a dishwasher. Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, they should be replaced.
  5. Always use separate platters and utensils for raw food and prepared food that is being served.
  6. Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of meats is 145°F degrees for steaks and roasts and a minimum of 160°F degrees for ground beef.
  7. Keep pets, household cleaners, and other chemicals away from food and surfaces used for food.
  8. When cooking outdoors, keep plenty of clean utensils available and pack clean, dry cloths and use disinfectant sprays or wipes to keep food preparation and serving areas clean.
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 15:48

Recognizing Skin Cancer

Skin cancer rates have been rising in the US and it has become the most common cancer in young people. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk, including using sunscreen, wearing UV protective clothing and avoiding indoor tanning.

Early detection of skin cancer is also important. Examine your skin on on your entire body for suspicious spots or changes to moles at least once a month. Be especially suspicious of new moles. Taking photos of moles can help you monitor them for changes over time.

Dermatologists look for particular features in skin referred to as the ABCs of skin cancer. The ABCDEs are important characteristics to be aware of when examining your skin for moles and other growth, here's what to look for:

A is for Asymmetry
Normal moles are symmetrical, with both sides looking the same. If they do not look the same on both sides, have it checked by a dermatologist.

B is for Borders
If a mole does not look circular, or is irregular with bumps, ragged or blurred edges, have it checked by a dermatologist. Melanoma lesions often have uneven borders.

C is for Color
Normal moles are usually a single shade of color. Look for areas of uneven or multiple colors. Moles with shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red should be checked by a doctor.

D is for Diameter
A mole should be checked by a doctor if it is larger than 6mm – about the size of the eraser of a pencil.

E for is Evolution
If a mole is shrinking, growing larger, changing color, causing irritation or bleeding – it should be checked. Melanoma lesions often grow in size or change in height rapidly.

If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDE's see a doctor. Your doctor may want remove a tissue sample from the mole to perform a biopsy.


Tuesday, 10 April 2018 00:43

Preventing Tick-borne Illnesses

With the arrival of warm summer weather in Minnesota comes the increased risk for diseases spread by mosquitos, ticks and fleas. Minnesota is a particularly high risk state for tick-borne diseases, with the second highest number of disease cases. Between 2004 and 2016, there were 26,886 tick-borne disease cases in Minnesota, according to CDC data. While Lyme Disease is the most common disease spread by ticks, spotted fever rickettsioses, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis have all seen cases rise in the last decade.

Ticks

Here are some tips for reducing your risk of contracting tick-borne illnesses.

  • Avoid walking through heavily wooded areas by staying on cleared paths.
  • Light colored clothing will allow you to better spot and remove wood ticks.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and tuck your pant legs into your socks so that ticks cannot crawl up the inside of your pant legs.
  • Apply repellents containing DEET to prevent ticks from attaching.
  • Check for ticks on your body and clothing after returning from wooded, brushy, or tall, grassy areas and remove any ticks you find on you, your child or your pet.
  • Because young ticks are very small, around the size of a poppyseed, have someone chek hard to reach areas, particularly on areas of the body where hair is present, making it difficult to see ticks.
  • Shower after being in an area with ticks, and promptly put clothes in a dryer on high heat to kill ticks.
  • Use tick prevention products for your pet dogs and cats.

If you get a rash or a fever, let the doctor know if you may have been exposed to ticks, even if you don't remember having a tick bite.

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